We started by concentrating on the identification of the assets which contribute to our heritage.
The built environment has already been the subject of much work carried out by Marple Civic Society and is ongoing. Details can be found on the SMBC web site.
The Natural Environment has also been studied and principal sites identified as “Sites of Biological Importance” These have been mapped and listed and they can be also be found on the SMBC web site. However in this case much less detail is available. We felt that it was important to consider these areas in the context of Marple’s Green Infrastructure and to identify the links and green corridors (such as the canal network, the Middlewood way and the railways) which enhance their value.
It has been proposed that an account of this ecological framework, which forms the backbone of our Natural Heritage, should be formalised as a report by a professional ecologist which would then be built in to the final neighbourhood plan.
We also feel the need for a more detailed study of the flora and fauna of the area.
We are about to commence a study of our assets as components of a tourist strategy and intend to take this forward as the next part of our work schedule. We shall now be helped by Fiona Turpin (Project Leader Project Officer, Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy in Marple), John Suggitt who is Archivist for the North Cheshire Cruising Club and Neil Charman (Chairman Marple Naturalists). Clearly we shall need to take into account all the work that is being carried out by the Mellor Archaeological Trust but the background to our study may well be the canals and the lock system and associated “hinterland”.
It seems likely that we should consider the possibility of a series of local walks with appropriate interpretation and undoubtedly Marple’s Heritage could provide material for various school projects.
There are obvious interfaces with other topic groups. Tourism implies the need for good access and perhaps better accommodation as well as an appraisal of cafes and restaurants. Conservation of biodiversity will require more sensitive treatment and maintenance of the communication links and well used parts of our open spaces. We need also to liaise with SMBC on these matters.